Should My Boyfriend Ask His 40-Year-Old Son to Take a Paternity Test? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Should My Boyfriend Ask His 40-Year-Old Son to Take a Paternity Test?


Published March 3, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

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Dear Reverend,

My boyfriend of eight years has a serious dilemma. Fred and his ex-wife, Sarah, had a son 40 years ago. Fred believes the boy, now a grown man I'll call "Charlie," is not biologically his. Fred and Sarah had been split up for a bit before she got pregnant.

Fred really wants to know the truth through a DNA test. The man he believes could be the real father is his enemy. Fred can't bring himself to ask Charlie to participate. It would tear the family apart, as Fred and Charlie are very close. But the possibility of deceit is killing Fred. He raised Charlie, who is now an upstanding member of the community, as well as a loving and caring father. Fred doesn't know whether his grandkids are biologically his.

Should Fred ask Charlie for a DNA test or take this dilemma to his grave? How would Fred even go about explaining this to Charlie? Advice, please!

Sick of Hearing About It (female, AGE UNDISCLOSED)

Dear Sick of Hearing About It,

The time for honesty is long past due. I don't understand why a paternity test wasn't done decades ago, but there's no turning back the clock. Fred could just give 23andMe DNA kits to the whole family and see what happens, but that would be pretty shady.

There's a big difference between a dad and a sperm donor. Biology aside, Charlie is Fred's son. He raised him as his own, and it sounds like they've had a solid relationship for 40 years. I'd like to think that getting this out in the open could bring them closer in the end. Sometimes the family that you choose is even more special.

It may be wise to seek help from a professional family counselor, since there's a lot to navigate here. The fact that the possible biological father is Fred's "enemy" is Fred's problem. He needs to get over that. Charlie deserves to know the truth, not just for the sake of knowing, but because there may be genetic implications for him. He should know his biological family's health history.

If Fred keeps this secret, it's just going to eat him up inside until he keels over. What if Charlie were to find out after Fred's passing? Would Fred want to leave that kind of tainted legacy behind? I doubt it.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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